Fears for heritage listed Shell House after minister nominated

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Shell House is the only tower in Melbourne designed by Mr. Seidler, a pioneer of modernism in Australia and one of the country’s most influential architects.

Artist’s impression of the proposed tower behind 1 Spring Street.Credit:Source: Phillip Nominees Pty Ltd

It has won state and national architectural awards and was listed as a heritage site in 2017.

Mr Ambrose said if the development is approved it will set a worrying precedent for future developments at CBD heritage sites and undermine the integrity of the state heritage register.

“All Victorians should be concerned about Minister Wynne’s extraordinary decision to use her powers to ‘appeal’ the permit application, thereby anticipating the outcome of an appeal to the State’s Independent Heritage Board.” , did he declare. “Decisions about our most important places should not be made behind closed doors. “

The Australian Institute of Architects also opposed the proposed redevelopment in a rare intervention. He said building a second tower at 1 Spring Street would cause “irreversible damage” to a significant historic place.

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“One Spring Street is one of the few Modernist commercial buildings in Melbourne that must be protected in a way that protects both the building and the landscape,” the institute said in a brief. “The building and its exterior landscaped spaces deserve the protection of the Victorian government for the enjoyment of future generations. “

Mr Wynne, who announced he would retire in the 2022 election, defended his decision to appeal for the candidacy. He said this was due to the heritage significance of Shell House and the site’s position as a gateway to the city.

“The call for application means that heritage and development permit applications can be considered in tandem in a single forum,” he said. “The Heritage Council will provide a report on the amended request which will inform the decision. “

CBD resident Elizabeth Loftus said she was concerned the development would change the character of the area, which was a unique heritage pocket.

“Shell House was only listed as a heritage site in 2017 and yet here we are with an application to redevelop the site four years later. With the Minister’s appeal, this removes the right of the Heritage Council to examine this request, but also the interested parties of the community, ”she declared.

Ms Loftus said she was concerned the actions would show the minister’s willingness to increase his powers.

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“Normally the Minister would allow the Heritage Council to have a hearing and receive public submissions, but in this case it was summoned without a public hearing. It really sidesteps the purpose of the Heritage Act and the heritage list. “

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